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Rookie Report: Steelers Vs Colts

Rookie Report vs Indianapolis Colts

Throughout the season following each game I will be taking a look at the rookies and how they fared each week.  This will consist of thoughts such as the positive and negatives from that game, areas to watch or work on and clips to support what I’m sharing. Hopefully, this will shed some insight on some things you may or may not have seen.

2020 Regular Season Week 16

Active Players

Chase Claypool (2nd Round) – 6 targets, 4 receptions, 54 yards, 54 offensive snaps, 9 special team snaps

He saw the most snaps since he played 56 in week 9. Interestingly, all his targets came in the second half when the offense started producing.  His route tree included patterns on all three levels with the most popular being the Go route and Curls/Sticks dominating overall.

His first reception was the first play of the third quarter on a Curl route gaining 4 yards after the catch. The second target was on Stick route were he made a fantastic contested catch with a defensive back all over him. Catch number three was the Post where he created very good separation, made the catch and got 10 yards after the catch. His fourth reception was on a curl route were he ran backwards five yards after the catch changing at minimum a three yard gain into a one yard gain.  He did have a drop on a slant that would have been a touchdown and his frustration with himself was evident on the sideline.

He added an excellent block on Ebron’s touchdown blocking his man nearly all the way through the end zone. He also saved a possible pick six on a route miscommunication by seeing the defensive back break for the ball and with reaching out to push the defender and prevent the interception. On special teams he had one good block on a kick return and also closed a lane on kick coverage that led to a big hit from teammate Cassius Marsh.

Claypool (11) is at the top of the screen and helps out on this touchdown with a great block driving his man to the back of the end zone.

 

Alex Highsmith (3rd Round) – 8 tackles, 4 solo, 2 QB hits, 58 defensive snaps, 9 special team snaps

Highsmith’s progression since becoming a starter has been on par from what I expected. I felt he would be better versus the run early and the pass rushing would steady improve and he had is best game to date this week. He has played between 83 and 95% of the defensive snaps as a starter.

Eight tackles is a new career high and the majority was against the run. The made tackles chasing from the backside, beating a blocker to crash in the middle a few times, hustle to a wide receiver screen and touching down a receiver in coverage.  He struggled getting off blocks in the first half but played better as the game went on. He also added a tackle on punt coverage. He was solid on the edge in run plays and was aggressive taking on a pulling guard.

He had about 6 plays in coverage starting with covering a running back on a shallow cross.  He had three reps in Zone coverage and two in Man coverage trailing a TE and slot WR 15 yards downfield.

This was his best pass rushing game and while it was against backup tackles he still showed strides.  He had success with a punch/rip in the first quarter. He used a club/arm over on the play Mike Hilton broke up a pass. He used a cross chop to get pressure on Hilton’s interception. On the final drive he used a spin move on the first play that was unsuccessful but went back to it on the final Colts plays to force a quicker throw.

Here is the club/arm over by Highsmith (56) to get in the pocket on the play Hilton broke up a pass.

 

Kevin Dotson (4th Round) – 68 offensive snaps, 4 special team snaps

Dotson notched his third start of the season and his first at left guard. This was another good performance overall.  As I’ve said before one of his best qualities is his ability to not be overwhelmed.  He looks calm and comfortable in whatever he is asked to do.

As a pass blocker he showed good balance and lateral agility on slide protection and versus counter rushes to the inside.  He uses his drag hand (inside hand) well when uncovered to assist the center while his focus is to the outside to see if the tackle needs assistance.  He faced several different pass rushers and anchored well versus power rushes and showed a good punch after handling chops by others. He had a couple opportunities on screens and showed good mobility but didn’t get a block on the first rep but was better on the second. He also got away with an illegal man down field situation being well downfield on a pass play.

As a run blocker he also performed well showing good quickness on outside Zone runs. He showed good push and timing on combo blocks climbing to the second level. His footwork in one on one block is good getting in position to turn his assignment to set up a running lane. Overall the running game was bad but the potential of Dotson is evident.

Dotson (69) will handle the attempted forklift/swim by the defensive tackle and shows his strength shoving him to the outside.

 

Carlos Davis (7th) – 12 tackles, 1 solo, 10 defensive plays, 1 special team snap

Davis got the second highest number of snaps this season being used in earlier parts of the game to give the veterans a breather. Nine of his plays were inside at nose tackle or defensive tackle with one play at right defensive end. He was credited with the tackle on the Colts quarterback sneak in the first quarter. He was also able to get off a block in the third quarter to make a tackle with Highsmith.

He got swallowed up by the right guard on his first play and tried a rip on a pass rush on the second rep.  He was the penetrator on a twist to attempt to clear a path for Stephon Tuitt.  His third run play he went left while the rest of the defensive line went right.  It looked like it might have been an error on his part. His anchor versus a double team wasn’t very good getting his body turned and getting pushed back. He showed solid burst on a third quarter pass rep but could use improvement in how he uses his hands.

Here Davis (73) is lined up as the 1 tech inside the left guard and will work through a combo block to make a tackle near the line of scrimmage.

 

James Pierre (UDFA) – 1 tackle, 16 special team snaps

One thing I’ve notice with Pierre is he never gives up on play. He is always trying to make a block or make it to a ball carrier.  His tackle in this game came on a play were he ended up past the punt returner and chased him up field to get in on the tackle.

His work on punt coverage has begun to earn him more double team blocks. He varies his release in so many different ways making him difficult to block. Overall another solid game for him and he turned into a really great free agent find for the special teams units.

Here is the tackle by Pierre (42). He ends up about seven yards behind the returner but never stops chasing to get the tackle.

 

Inactive for Week 16 – Anthony McFarland (4th round), Antoine Brooks (6th)

Practice Squad –Corliss Waitman (UDFA), Calvin Taylor (UDFA), Brandon Walton (UDFA), Cody White (UDFA)

Reserve/Injured – None

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